The History Of The Warez Scene   (unfinished)

Piracy has always existed on all systems for as long as computers have
existed. Another known fact is,that most likely, a program that's written
will be dewritten (taken apart) 1000 times faster than the time it took to
write it. Since the PC cracking scene really took off in late 80's and early
90's it has gone through many stages. Many thought it would die off when
the CD-ROM's started to get into our lives. But the cracking scene survived
and will probably live forever if you ask me. Many programmers have tried
to code algorithms and tricks to make programs uncopyable. But for the
many skilled crackers out there, nothing is a problem. Most of the crackers
actually end up as programmers and coders for games and programs
themselves in the future. And many coders that work in gaming companies
etc. now, started out in the scene themselves.

Let's look at the beginning of the scene as we know it today. It all started
on the old Commodore 64 computers. Mostly teenagers existed in this
scene. And cracking programs wasn't very hard in those days either.
The spread of these games wasn't very wide. It happened mostly around
where the pirates lived. And wasn't a specially broad scene,though it
existed everywhere there was C64's. I remember myself, my pals that
had C64 only had copied games, no originals. I myself had an Amstrad
computer. We had no copied games,only originals, that was mainly
because almost noone else in Norway had Amstrad, only C64. Though
the Amstrad was better,and had just as many cool games. The
Amstrad was more known in England than the rest of the world.

According to sources, it is said that the PC cracking scene actually
took off around 1987. That's when people started to spread games
they had cracked, and started to form groups. Before that only
individuals had done the cracking, maybe credited themselves in
the game. Let's take a look at the now most important scene:
"The Pc cracking scene"

It is really difficult to find out anything about the oldskool cracking
scene. The only source is the people that was in it. Many of them
are in their mid 20's and maybe 30 now, so they are not easy
to reach. But I will try to get some interviews with oldskoolers.
Because of the PCs actually poor system (x86) the system was
very limited in the beginning. Therefore no cracktros were made
and few info files written. So digging up info about this time is not
easy. But more and more is now known. And revealing new stuff
is a process that many is contributing to.

As said earlier, individuals first cracked the games. They leaved
notes in the downright corner f.x. saying "Cracked by Nomade".
In the late 80's groups started to emerge, and cracking groups
got more known and common. These groups often had CGA
images or animations or ANSI's to credit themselves of the
cracks. Bentley Sidewell Productions is said to have made the
first cracktros, because they credited themselves with CGA
animations in their cracks. The old cracktro scene is also said
to be the origin to the PC Demo Scene. This scene emerged when
the people making cracktros found it cooler to make cracktros
than actually cracking. International Network of Crackers
used ANSI in their cracks, not as fantastic as BSP but also a
start of something better.

It is said that hacking groups were the start of the shorting of
groups names. This was both to confuse and for easier typing.
3 lettered shorts wasn't common before the PC times, this was
mainly because the PC's limitations with DOS. 11 characters only.
(eight . three) First info files started out only when the cracking
groups wanted to inform the users of something, maybe keys in
the game or something special. Later they started to add info
files regularily in every release. It started with naming the info
files with the game name followed by .DOC (document) f.x.
Simcity.doc . Later some groups started to use the acronyms
of their groups instead of .doc like Simcity.INC.

In 1990 The Humble Guys introduced us to the now standard .nfo
ending of the files. NFO standing for information. First the standard
was gamename.nfo like Simcity.nfo , but as we all now know the
standard eventually became groupname.nfo.

To talk a bit about couriers we can begin to say that their
position has never been very seen upto. They are in fact a very
important part of the scene, because they spread, but the
reason that they are not very high seen is that anyone can
courier, you don't need special skills, just equipment. In the
beginning, most of the couriers were both hackers and pirates,
and pirating was often not toprated, that led to slow spreading
of games. Another bad thing was that noone was willing to pay
high phone bills to spread games, so this didn't become any good
before a new alliance was formed. This was called North American
Pirate Phreak Alliance (NAP/PA). They worked to spread knowledge
of phreaking to pirates, so that they could call for free and so on.
This got the scene more united, and the borders came closer.

As I said a bit earlier, the couriers wasn't very high seen. And
one example of this is when the Humble Guys started to call their
couriers for slaves. They each got one number , like slave09 and
logged onto boards anonymous. Time Lord changed his nick to the
Slave Lord for the couriers. He would be their master. Here you
can see part of the app to be a slave :

Application to be bonded into SLAVERY

What is your handle :_________________________
What is your REAL NAME :_________________________
What is your home phone #:_________________________
What is your date of birth:__/__/__
What is the make and model of your modem:______________________

List the top boards you are on and their phone numbers (5 lines)
Board Name Board Number SysOp

1) ________________________ (___)___-____ _____________________

2) ________________________ (___)___-____ _____________________

3) ________________________ (___)___-____ _____________________

4) ________________________ (___)___-____ _____________________

5) ________________________ (___)___-____ _____________________

Now we have some personal questions to ask you to make sure that
you are slave quality.

1) If I asked you to jump, what would your reply be? ________________
2) Do you believe in the use of K-Y jelly, or do you like it straight up? ___
3) As a slave, would you be willing to sell your mother into prostitution
if I told you to do so? ___
4) As a slave, if I told you to send me your computer, would you? ___

Now it is essay times kiddies, this essay is real simple. Just go ahead
and tell me WHY I should even go and consider you as a slave.

To :The Slavelord

The Slavelord

As you can see they was very looked down to, and even today this is a fact.
That is due to the fact that many people have very good lines and big
harddisks, so to be a great site is easy. Because of this, the most common
thing today is separate crackgroups and courier groups. This has almost
became a standard. Here is also a member listing from the Humble Guys from
1993. As you can see the couriers are listed as peasants.

The Slavelord Official THG Virus Tester
X TASE/ THG THG Spreader Supreme!
StormTrooper THG Courier Peasant #2
Led THG Courier Peasant #3
Dreamscape THG Courier Peasant #4
Skol! THG Courier Peasant #5
Sniper THG Courier Peasant #9
Bullwinkle THG Courier Peasant #10
Mellow Man THG Courier Peasant #11
Untouchable THG Courier Peasant #12
Lost Rider THG Courier Peasant #13
Forced Entry THG Courier Peasant #14

I often sometimes hear oldskoolers talk about how the scene was
before. And I would really like to be part of the old scene, where
they often just crossed country borders to spread games instead
of sending them with their 2400bps modems. One story is of an
oldskooler that visited a n online pal from  another side of the  country
with a game. His pal sat and tried to crack the game while he
messed with his sister. There are many old stories about the
scene. It was truly great times, thats no shit. But these times
are over. Now it's a new scene. Still a good scene, but there have
been a lot of changes compared to the old days. For example it's
much easier to be a newbie these days and that's actually a good
thing. In the old days people that wasn't any good in cracking and
so on wasn't welcome to learn it either, that didn't exactly
recruit many new crackers so these days weren't anything to
brag about. This behaviour probably came from the fact that
the Scene was very closed at those times, and only respected
people could do the things they wanted to, not like these days,
where everything is available on the net. Those days you had
to have a BBS number to call. And you mostly had to have friends
that could get you into the top BBS's.  To the oldskoolers I got only
one thing to say : "If you aren't satisfied with todays scene,why
be a wussy and quit ? Help us get it as good as before again
instead. If not, don't complain, though we know all was better
before, that does also our parents say ,about life......"

BBS's these days often had to pay monthly fees to be affiliated
with groups. These money often came from leech account
payment from people. The groups used this money in many
ways, perhaps most often to get games to release. If a group
didn't have any money, they had trouble getting out any new
games. BBS runners had to put money in it to be top rated.,
and the only thing they got back was respect (and new
releases ofcourse). It was also quite dangerous to run a
BBS in your home. The big software companies was always
after scapegoats for the whole scene. Many big BBS's have
been busted this way. It is said that the death of BBS's came
after Park Central closed down. This was the number one
BBS in the scene and was often used as a referee beeing
both the boxing ring and the referee.  In the end many
groups started to release on the Internet only and they
had to make two different scorecharts, one for BBS and
one for the Internet. The BBS's final hour is said to be
the infamous Cyberstrike campaign of February 1997
where 5 major BBS's were closed down in few days.
This caused many other BBS owners to close down in
fear of getting busted themselves.

Baseline of this history is (C) ipggi & Defacto2 1998